Raleigh Singapore first overseas project is a 3-week long community project Operasi Raleigh Batam in Riau Islands in 1996. The volunteers dug a reservoir to provide fresh water to the village, refurbished a school and built an access stairway down a cliff to the beach to allow children safe access among other things. In 1998, we returned to Riau Islands for Operasi Raleigh Batam II. In the subsequent years after the 2 Operasi Raleigh Batam projects till now, we keep on expanding our overseas outreach to different countries such as Mongolia, Myanmar and Tibet.
Here's the list of past overseas projects we have organized:
It touched our lives as much as it touched theirs'. For ten full days, the small village of Indra Nagar, in the Nilgiri Hills of South India, was bustling with energy. Though a small and cosy team, the seven seasoned Raleigh volunteers, reinforced by four other European CTRD volunteers and skilled villagers, were focused with the tasks at hand and aimed to complete as many toilets as they could during their stay in this village.
Almost centrally located, the community hall was an ideal location as the HQ, where the volunteers ate and slept. Due to the close proximity with the villagers' homes, social and cultural interactions with the villagers at the community hall and at their homes were daily affairs. With the community spirit riding high, ten toilets were fully completed by the end of our stay and the foundations of the other 15 fully established. In keeping with their tradition, a small celebration was organised by the villagers just before the team's departure. Tokens of appreciation were exchanged but gestures of friendships and camaraderie left a much deeper imprint on everyone.
Operation Vannakam 2009
This service expedition to India was first organised by Raleigh Society in partnership with Centre for Tribal and Rural Development (CTRD) Trust (India). Operation Vannakam, Led by Daniel Tan, is a two-phase expedition to India organised by Raleigh Society in Singapore. More than 50 volunteers worked together with local masons and villagers to construct a hospital for the tribal community in the Nilgiri mountains in Tamil Nadu. With no readily available medical facilities presently, the community has to go for quality health check-ups in either Sulthan Bathery which is 50km away, Mysore which is 120km away or Coimbatore which is 200km away. These people are economically very poor and they cannot afford to get treatment from these places. Their social and cultural background also results in them being unwilling to readily seek medical help from these hospitals. Volunteers from Phase 1, from 16 May to 5 June, completed the foundation work and started laying the bricks on the left wing of the hospital, while volunteers from Phase 2, from 31 May to 20 June, completed the brick-laying and started work on the roof.
Operation Tashi Deleg 2001
Operation Tashi Deleg, led by Wong Yuen Lik, was a 39-day expedition combining community work with youth development based in the rural village of Song Duo (230km east of Lhasa, Tibet). The 110-strong group was divided into two, with each team spending three weeks at high altitude in Tibet from May to June 2001. During the expedition, volunteers worked with the locals to upgrade existing accommodation blocks and construct a new school building for the nomadic children in the vicinity of the village.
Operation Tashi Deleg, supported by Raleigh International (Singapore), is a joint effort with the All-China Youth Federation (ACYF) and Tibet Youth Federation (TYF). The expedition was conceived after the expedition leader Wong Yuen Lik and volunteer Kee Mui Hong went on a reconnaissance trip with the ACYF where they visited five possible sites. They decided upon Songduo and began the half-year preparation leading up to the project. The project was supported by the National Youth Council, DBS Bank and Shaw Foundation.
Operasi Raleigh Batam II 1998
Operasi Raleigh Batam (ORB) II, led by Dr Eric Tan, was jointly organised by Raleigh International Singapore and the Indonesian Red Cross Society in Batam. Two batches of about 100 people each, aged 17 to 30, spent a week on Bertam island, staying in tents. Pulau Bertam, only about the size of Sentosa, is 4 km south-west of Batam. It had been turned into a resettlement village for Orang Laut (sea gypsies) in 1986.
The projects carried out included the rebuilding of a new community hall, the painting of the mosque and school, new walkways for stilt houses, a reconstructed spring and also a temporary clinic set up during the two-week expedition on the island.
Operation Vannakam 2010
Led by Tan Bee Tin, this expedition built on its ties with the CTRD to continue an extension project for the hospital in Nilgiri Mountains. The team of 28 venturers assisted local experts to help in part of the construction work required to equip the hospital with additional facilities such as X-Ray, ECG, Scanning facilities, kitchen and dining hall, staff quarters, guest house, and compound wall.
Operasi Yahowu 2005 -2008
This expedition began in response to the tsunami of Dec 26, 2004 that hit the west coast of Nias, an island off the west of Sumatra, Indonesia. This was the first time Raleigh was in a post-disaster region. We had sent recce teams over to Nias to work out a proposed freshwater distribution system for the villagers of Sirombu. Our local partners were PKPA (Pusa Kajian Perlindungan Anak, Centre for Study and Child Protection and YAKKUM Emergency Unit for the local reconstruction efforts.
In March 2005, a earthquake in the region, killing 1300 people mostly on Nias, and levelling most of the capital Gunung Sitoli’s built infrastructe. The plans for the water sanitation project were thrown into disarray. Undeterred, Raleigh Society volunteers participated in project ‘Child’s Play’ (from March to July 2005) to help the affected children cope with post-trauma symptoms. Three Child’s Play teams – who stayed in very tough post-quake camp conditions – brought cheer to the children staying at Internally Displaced People’s Camps (IDPCs). Volunteers helped to organise recreational sessions for the children, as well as getting them interested in their studies again by conducting academic sessions in English, Mathematics and Health Education in tandem with our local partner, PKPA.
Operation Mingalaba 1999
On the invitation of YMCA Singapore, Raleigh Singapore undertook a community project to build a community center in a Shan village in Myanmar, in 1999. This project, led by Dr Chan Yew Wing, was in partnership and a collaborative effort with YMCA Yangon. With the aim to add a new dimension to Raleigh Singapore’s expeditions and create an overseas learning experience for disadvantaged youths, selected youths from Ramakrishna Home, Boys Town and SCAS were invited to join the expedition. For the first time, Raleigh Singapore expedition saw youths from privileged backgrounds working alongside the disadvantaged ones. This initiative also set the practice to include disadvantage youths in all future Raleigh expeditions. As with all expeditions, Operation Mingalaba, faced its own set of organising challenges at every stage. The most daunting one was the sudden decision by the local authorities to deny us permission to proceed with the original plan of working in the Shan village. The abrupt change of project site just days before the arrival of phase 1 in Myanmar sent the advance team into a frenzy as they scrambled, with the help of local partners, to get Plan B into action by the time volunteers set foot in Myanmar.
A month and two expedition phases later, the combined effort of 100 youths with the local workers saw the transformation of a patch of bare land into a community center for the local villagers in North Okkalapa, which is located within Yangon, the then capital of Myanmar. While North Okkalapa may not be the original site for the project, the objective of building a community center where the locals can gather and learn new skills such as English through free English lessons not only did not changed but was achieved with the great volunteerism spirit of the participants.
Operasi Raleigh Batam I 1996
Operasi Raleigh Batam or ORB as it is fondly know as, was conceived as Raleigh International Singapore’s first home grown overseas community service expedition in the region in 1996. Having acquired an alumni from 1986 of very active, motivated and passive volunteers, Raleigh Singapore had the ability to mount our own expedition on behalf of Singaporean youth. The opening for ORB came through the Singapore Red Cross Society, which had organized a number of medical clinics in the Riau islands around Batam in partnership with Palang Merah Indonesia Batam.
The three week long expedition took place in August 1996. It was flagged off by then Minister of State for Information and The Arts and Chairman of the National Youth Council Mr David Lim. The ferry was greeted by an extraordinary ceremony by the islanders, with song and dance, costumes and buntings. There was a lavish opening ceremony with many speeches, before we made camp in the compound of a local school.